Strabismus

Image of man covering one eye.

Strabismus is the medical term for the misalignment of the eyes. Commonly referred to as cross-eyed or wall-eyed, strabismus may involve either one or both eyes turning inward, outward or even up or down. It is one of the most common vision conditions in young children, affecting somewhere between 2 and 4 percent of the population.

Symptoms of strabismus typically reveal themselves in children between the ages of 1 and 4. In some cases, children with strabismus experience double vision or low vision in general, and those who may be too young to vocalize their discomfort may tilt their heads or squint frequently. Many children will not report vision problems on their own and, typically, parents or teachers notice a misalignment of the eyes.

What Causes Strabismus?

Strabismus can have many different causes. In particular, strabismus is often caused by abnormal functioning of: the part of the brain that controls eye movements, the nerves that transmit signals to the muscles or the eye muscles themselves. It can also be caused by certain general health problems, eye conditions, head injuries, refractive errors or, in part, family history.

Types of Strabismus

Common types of strabismus include the following:

Esotropia is the most common cause of childhood strabismus. It tends to appear very early on in a person’s life — primarily occurring in infants — and involves one eye turning inward, toward the nose, instead of aligning with the second eye and looking straight ahead.

Exotropia often appears in children between the ages of 1 and 6. Exotropia occurs when one eye turns outward, away from the nose. This type of strabismus is commonly referred to as walleye.

Hypertropia is considered the least common form of strabismus. This form of strabismus, also referred to as vertical deviation, is characterized by one eye turning upward, toward the eyebrow.

Strabismus Treatment Options

Treatment for strabismus is tailored to address the initial source of the problem and can vary depending on the severity of the eye misalignment.

One of the most common treatments for strabismus is eye patching. If the same eye consistently turns in the same direction, a patch may be placed over the regularly functioning eye. In this way, patching may be used to train the weaker eye to do the “seeing” work in place of the stronger eye. Patches block out all light and, over time, may strengthen the eye and restore alignment. Depending on the case, children may be recommended to wear a patch anywhere from only a few hours a day to, occasionally, more than six hours each day.

How Vision Therapy Can Help With Strabismus

Vision therapy involves an individualized, non-surgical treatment program that is designed to help correct or improve certain eye conditions, including strabismus. Treatment will vary, depending on the eye condition and the patient’s unique visual needs. Specific exercises — including ones that address eye alignment, eye teaming, focusing abilities and more — can be used to help manage strabismus and realign the eyes.

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Testimonial

  • "Before our daughter began vision therapy she was struggling with reading and sports. We thought she was just clumsy (walking into walls and falling a lot). My wife and I know something was't quite right; so we had our daughter tested for Central Auditory Processing Disorder, took her to an optometrist and to an eye specialist at a hospital. My wife's mother urged us to see Dr. Gordon. A significant visual tracking problem was found.
    After vision therapy our daughter went from needing extra help with reading to reading above grade level. She is now excelling in softball and has been named to the All-Star Team this year. She has become more confident and willing to try new things."
    "We can't thank Dr. Gordon's office enough for our daughter's success."
    Drew D.
  • "Before vision therapy reading was terrible. Nothing made sense on the paper. Vision therapy helped me with spelling and reading. I'm not skipping lines when reading and I love how I was taught to spell. I bring home 100's in spelling and reading is coming along too!
    I'm also on the Honor Roll at school too!"
    Elizabeth S.
  • "Our son was in 2nd grade when we found out that he had vision problems. He was referred to the occupational therapist in school for his handwriting. After her testing she called to tell us that all of signs were related to vision problems. Our son complained of headaches, motion sickness and very bad handwriting.
    Most of his teachers were telling us they thought he had ADD or ADHD.
    His attention span in school was short and he rushed through his work. He absolutely hated anything that had to do with writing.
    After starting vision therapy we saw improvements very quickly; as well as his teachers. His handwriting has improved tremendously and his posture is much better.
    We are so thankful for the occupational therapist discovering his vision challenge. We drove an hour and a half each way to Dr. Gordon's office for our weekly vision therapy sessions.
    The success of our son was well worth the drive."
    Amber W.
  • "What a difference! It has been an emotional roller coaster dealing with certain aspects of our son's left. But it was refreshing to know that we could count on the staff administering vision therapy to have his best interest in mind. To watch our son overcome the obstacles he had prior to vision therapy is worth everything. We absolutely recommend vision therapy because we have seen what it can do for our child. We are grateful for vision therapy and couldn't imagine his life without it!"
    Jerome K.
  • "I saw words differently and struggled throughout my childhood with my sight. After years of testing and appointments I found Dr. Gordon who diagnosed a Convergence Insufficiency. After a few months of vision therapy I was amazed at the my improvement.
    My life is truly changed!"
    Ella S.
  • "My son has always struggled in school. As an educator I looked for answers based on what I knew; learning disabilities, ADHD, etc. By the time he was in 4th grade I had to find some way to help my son. I realized that many of his symptoms were similar to many of my students who had Central Auditory Processing difficulties. Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center confirmed the diagnosis and recommended a visual processing evaluation. No one ever considered his reading challenges to be related to a visual processing problem. Since starting vision therapy his struggles in school have decreased, his math grades have improved as well as his reading; and he is more confident in his ability to succeed."
    Joanne L.
  • "Dr. Gordon is a developmental optometrist, which means...he is trained to deal with eye dysfunctions beyond simple near-sightedness/far-sightedness and...he can help improve vision through behavior programs. Dr. Gordon patiently worked with me to get the best possible prescription...He's a compassionate and very competent eyecare professional, and I strongly recommend him."
    Michael L.